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McCain's VP...In Which I Find Myself In SHocking Agreement With Jimbo and Ann Althouse

| 49 Comments

Got picked up by The Flying Dutchman at the airport last night - not my last trip, but the beginning of some changes that will result in a lot less trips, thankfully - and instead of business we wound up chatting about McCain's VP choice.

I told him it had to be Palin. Or rather that McCain would be "idiotic" not to pick her.

Why?

Purely tactically, Biden's a sharp debater. Blustery, sometimes fact-challenged, but smart and sharp-tongued. Imagine a matchup of the likely GOP Veeps in the debate...they lose, it's a 'Crossfire'-type boring shouting match, or...if it's Palin, he's pinned. He can't bluster her down without seeming like an ass, he has to be polite, and she can go after him with an inside game that's all about "I am successfully running a state while you have sat in DC and made speeches for the last 40 years".

Plus he has to pick a woman (well, no but he'd be even more idiotic not to), and Fiorina, Whitman, and Hutchinson all bring too much negative baggage.

Here's hoping...and heading to Costco for the jumbo popcorn.

Update: Ohmigawd - could it be true?

49 Comments

Strangely that was my first thought also, that this takes the teeth out of Biden.

It also takes the teeth out of the Obama is too inexperienced argument. I suspect McCain will being going to the Obama is too radical argument, which is probably good politics. The way Obama supporters go nuclear any time the idea that Obama is hip deep in the far left, its a good way to bait the campaign into making more tactical mistakes. It would also seem to be a valid point.

McCain throws a Hail Mary pass just to stay in the game.

I agree Gov. Palin has a lot of positives, but it won't be easy to claim Obama lacks foreign policy experience anymore.

There's a fascinating discussion going on over at MyDD - read the whole thread.

A.L.

I agree completed, AL. I'm ecstatic that McCain made the choice I felt was his smartest, for all the reasons mentioned, and then some.

As to how this might neutralize the McCain argument that Obama is to inexperienced, I don't think so at all.

The experience of your VP can be compared to the experience of yoru opponent's VP, but for Dems to try to counter an "Obama's Too Green" with a "So's your VP" comes off silly and actually underscores the point.

Think Dan Quayle, John Edwards, Nixon in 52/56, the criticism of VP experience hasn't and won't stick.

That, and I think Palin's State Executive and Mayoral experience could match up compettitively against Obama's wafer thin management record. (Unless of course, his 5 year management record with Chicago City school reform gets a thorough airing, but that's another place Obama doesn't want to go.)

What an election year.

"McCain throws a Hail Mary pass just to stay in the game."

Huh? Somebody hasnt been watching the polls very closely.

I don't know much about Palin, but I'm surprised at the geography. I would have suspected someone from the southeast-- a Gulf stater, in particular-- or perhaps the northeast if McCain thought any of those states could be tipped by the choice.

I do see the arguments being made about her being the junior maverick, and to the extent that those perceptions ring true they'll certainly help McCain. The farther McCain can get from the perception of "establishment Republican" the better he'll do. (I say that based on the notion that far right voters just aren't going to vote for Obama. Period.)

But geography is important.

Important, yes, but not all-important. The Reagan-Coalition "conservatives" across the south are mostly looking for any sort of ideological consistency. A mother-of-five who gets a double-thumbs-up from the Club for Growth would drive those folks to the polls MUCH better than a pick from the region whose credentials weren't as closely to their liking.

A mother who refused to abort her fifth child even knowing he had Downs Syndrome will absolutely energize the entire conservative base in the South. Add to that her documented record in slaying long-entrenched corruption in Alaska politics and she is the dream VP candidate. She will be the reason McCain wins in November.

I found it interesting that one MyDD's father (a Limbaughite) thought McCain was totally nuts... I'd be surprised if that crowd didn't like her, but if McCain loses them, he loses the election. I could definitely see McCain losing Savage over this though... is that a benefit?

The question is how well she'll handle the big stage. I'm not even talking experience here, I think the jump from Alaska politics to 24-7 media could be daunting.

I'll be out of town this weekend, but I'll have to watch her intro speech then.

I don't think geography is important anymore. If McCain is at risk of losing virginia, he's gonna lose the election. I don't think he's in that spot and I dont think Virginia is really in play. He's not gonna win Minnesota by tacking on a governor, etc.

This is a good move because it adds excitement and buzz to the campaign. It will also partially neutralize some votes that were going Obama's way because he would be the 1st black president- fence sitters might consider they can have the first woman VP if they go the other way. This could really appeal to the Clinton diehards that are feeling truly alienated, and i suspect that segment had a lot to do with this decision.

Huh? Somebody hasn't been watching the polls of Virginia very closely.

There's no denying the entertainment value of American politics. A commenter at LGM remarks: "McCain's going to look 200 years old standing next to her." How on earth is he going to keep a straight face pushing the "celebrity" meme with a former Miss Alaska for a running-mate?

Obama balanced, McCain reinforced.

For pro-lifers waiting for something to get excited about, this could not be any better.

For supporters of anti-corruption reform and limited government spending, this could not be any better.

In baseball terms, this is like a deadline trade, trading a veteran for a Minor league prospect. I reserve judgment on these sorts of trades because if the scouting is good then you get a lot more than you appear to, if it is bad, you have a disaster on your hands.

We will know more in 2 to 3 weeks, after she has been around the League once or twice, then we will see if she can hit a major League curve.

Borrowing a comment on DKos, Obama picked a VP who would make him a better President. McCain picked a VP who would make him a better candidate.

...but it won't be easy to claim Obama lacks foreign policy experience anymore.

Well, the claim is that the Presidency is not a position where you can afford to need On The Job Training.

Such training is the main duty of a Vice President, however. Their primary job is to learn to be President if they need to be.

"Borrowing a comment on DKos, Obama picked a VP who would make him a better President. McCain picked a VP who would make him a better candidate."

Ok. Of course the Democrats picked a Presidential candidate who needs a VP to help him be taken seriously. That says rather a lot in itself.

You can throw out everything that came before. The race is on and it will be settled in 9 or so weeks. I don't think it really matters what was said before now or who had what experience. The race begins anew on a daily basis and I think that Obama's orgainzation and financial edge will be tough to beat. McCain's main problem is can he get out the vote.

That, my friends, will be the story of this election.

"Obama picked a VP who would make him a better President. McCain picked a VP who would make him a better candidate."

Well, that's only for the crowd who thinks (hopes?) that an old bull in the Senate Herd would make a good mentor to a young and not-terribly-experienced young buck for a job which said mentor has been rejected out-of-hand by the electorate. Twice.

In other words, a reach.

Obama picked a potential mentor as his running mate. McCain picked a mentee... er, trainee... whatever.

Point being, only one of those tickets is arranged to have the experienced one at the top of the ticket, and the up-and-comer in the veep slot.

The MyDD thread was certainly interesting. I think that there is about 1/3 "oh noes! we're doomed" and 2/3 "I dismiss everything Republican, so why not this?" There were a couple of balanced evaluations, but not many. Interesting early read on the netroots take, though.

Palin's lack of experience doesn't matter unless McCain dies just 2 months after inauguration.

If he dies 3 years after, Palin is experienced by then.

A superb pick. The only better pick would have been Jodi Rell (older, and could possibly pull in a lot of moderates), but nonetheless, McCain just gained the edge.

Of the 18 million Hillary voters, only 1 million have to peel off and vote for McCain/Palin to keep BHO out of the WH and Al-Qaeda out of your house.

Geraldine Ferraro is already going to vote for Palin, so that is an ominous sign.

Honestly, this is the dream ticket. Only in 2008 would such a GOP ticket have any chance of losing.

McCain is what most men aspire to be : A war hero who marries a hot, younger, rich woman.

Palin is what every woman wants to be : A beauty queen, who then goes on to marry, have 4 wonderful kids, while still running a successful and impressive career. She has it ALL!

Superb. Even if they lose, the GOP has just secured the future.

Palin/Jindal or Jindal/Palin in 2012 or 2016 (by which time BOTH will have more experience).

John McCain just saved the GOP's (and hence America's and humanity's) future.

#24 from GK at 7:41 pm on Aug 29, 2008

McCain is what most men aspire to be : A war hero who marries a hot, younger, rich woman.

Palin is what every woman wants to be : A beauty queen, who then goes on to marry, have 4 wonderful kids, while still running a successful and impressive career. She has it ALL!

You ever think about writing for Saturday Night Live. There is some real meat there for an hilarious skit.

@#19 TOC:

First, Obama no longer has the financial edge as his donations haven't met expectations and he's cut himself off from Federal funding. Several blogs imply that McCain will go into the general election with at least $50 million more than Obama.

Second, the choice of Palin absolutely energized the grass-roots base of the Republican Party. They will have no problems finding campaign volunteers for the home stretch.

"You ever think about writing for Saturday Night Live. There is some real meat there for an hilarious skit."

SNL sucks. Think bigger. Think Jibjab...

But I must state again that Palin has spectacularly achieved all 3 of the major dreams that little girls have. Most women never achieve even one. Palin has :

1) Become a beauty queen
2) Married a nice man and had FOUR great kids.
3) Has, in one shot, become only one of two women to rise this high in the political sphere (Ferraro being the other), and the first in 24 years.

All the dreams that young women have, rolled into one...

For the convention, though, I do want to see Palin ditch the glasses and let her hair down. She has to resurrect some of her erstwhile hotness for television. Michelle Obama's head will explode in the process.

If they win, McCain should assign Palin to the role of meeting with the heads of Islamic nations. They will hate her even more than Condi, as they know that she is competent in using powerful firearms with telescopic sights. Yet, she is pleasant and meek. Many Arab leaders will be utterly stunned by having to deal with this woman.

If they lose, Palin/Jindal in 2012 or 2016 is a no-brainer. Palin is, as of today, just as much of a national figure as Hillary is.

John McCain has just saved the GOPs (and hence America's and the human race's) future.

Okay, I'm getting carried away, but I am just that happy right now....

Hadn't been following this closely, and didn't know anything about Palin but her name.

First reaction: Relief it wasn't Lieberman or Huckabee, either of whom would have queered the deal for me.

Second reaction: Pleasant, perhaps even ecstatic surprise. She looks a real Westerner, someone who gets out there and does things, not sit around and whine about being entitled to them. And her (and McCain's for that matter) anti-corruption records are an antidote to what I hate the most about today's GOP. So - go Sarah!

(And as someone on another blog pointed out:
Props to Beldar
who called this one in advance. Lots of good links there if you as little about Palin as I did.)

"WASHINGTON (AFP) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday congratulated Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on her selection as John McCain's running-mate, while a campaign spokesman highlighted her "zero" foreign policy experience. "

Link

Obama is in real danger of judoing himself into looking very foolish. Its one thing to defuse McCains inexperience attacks by pointing out his VPs bio, its quite another to initiate a fresh attack that allows McCain to do the same thing far more effectively.

Obama is in real danger of judoing himself into looking very foolish. Its one thing to defuse McCains inexperience attacks by pointing out his VPs bio, its quite another to initiate a fresh attack that allows McCain to do the same thing far more effectively.

Whatever else Palin is, she's probably the best political tar-baby ever created. Not just the experience thing either. An outdoorsy (hunter, fisherwoman), pro-life, mother of 5 with a distinctive Alaskan accent married to a genuine blue-collar guy (races snowmobiles?)...she's solid middle Americana and it's only a matter of time before the left creates a cultural controversy here in spite of themselves.

Obama was already in trouble over the 'bitter gun-clinger gaffe'...this'll be really interesting.

Posted from the parallel universe.
Several blogs imply that McCain will go into the general election with at least $50 million more than Obama.
At the end of June, Obama plus DNC were $8 million behind McCain plus RNC in cash on hand. Obama outraised McCain by over $20 million in July, and at the end of the month Obama plus DNC were less than $3 million behind.

McCain will be restricted to about $84 million in public financing as of his acceptance of the nomination. You don't think Obama can match that?? Would you like to put some of your own money in play?

"Married a nice man and had FOUR great kids. "

Correction - FIVE great kids.

She is the feminist's nightmare : She got married and had FIVE kids, while STILL achieving greater career success than the typical unmarried feminist ever could.

She is the left-wing demographer's nightmare, singlehandedly producing more children than ten feminists put together could.

Which side wins the Demographic battle, the one with a fertility rate of 5.0, or the one with a fertility rate of 0.20?

If they compare Palin to Quayle, can we compare Obama to Dukakis? Fair is fair, and that is a fully justifiable analogy, from the same 1988 election.

I actually think Biden might be foolish enough to try a 'You're no Jack Kennedy'-themed line on Palin.

Even more : Palin's son is heading for Iraq, to join McCain's son.

Both have sons serving in Iraq!! There goes the military Mom vote to McCain/Palin..

Could it get any better???

My wife can atest that I predicted Palin a few months ago. (I predicted Richardson on the other side)

I think she's a good pick and I think Biden was a good pick. They both obviously raise issues, but everybody does.

I think Richardson would have been a better pick politically since he didn't vote for the Iraq war. But since I don't think there has been a Democrat as engaged in foreign policy the last several years as Biden, puting the political stuff aside, he has to be a pleasing pick to people concerned about foreign policy not already voting Republican.

Palin reinforces a message, brings gubenetorial experience to the compaign, and tempers a harsh view of McCain that might be his undoing. If you want to run as the happy warrior; try to be more happy. An optimistic view of the future is almost always needed to win.

And I still think the election will be won in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

GK, Biden's son deploys to Iraq in October. You might want to take a deep breath.

PD Shaw: I mostly agree with your list of states, and I would say Colorado is the most important of the three. (I expect Obama will win NM easily.) But that's even assuming McCain holds Ohio. If he doesn't, West of the Mississippi will be anti-climactic.

GK, Biden's son deploys to Iraq in October.

Everyone knows that. It was a condition Obama set Biden before Obama would pick him ahead of Hillary.

Anyway, scared-speechless-silence by the left-wing is deafening.

The attacks so far have been :

She is a bad mother for being a VP while having a 4-month old baby with Down's Syndrome.

She faked a pregnancy because the baby is actually from her teenage daughter.

By having 5 kids, she has damaged the environment and contributed to global warming.
________________________

If that is the best the left can throw at Palin, things will go even easier than I thought.

GK:
If they compare Palin to Quayle, can we compare Obama to Dukakis?

I don't think Obama even adds up to Dukakis. Obama has repeatedly been compared to ... well, Quayle.

Interesting to note that Palin is the only person on either ticket with executive experience. Well-rounded experience is not abundant in this election, but both sides have a large fund of "foreign policy experience", since a long stretch in the senate is considered equivalent to this. Only the Republicans have it at the top of the ticket.

Out of all four, Obama is the weakling. So much for the experience math; it is now racist to even mention it again.

Earth to GK. Would you mind documenting your conspiracy theories?
Everyone knows that. It was a condition Obama set Biden before Obama would pick him ahead of Hillary.
Can you explain to me how Joe Biden controls military deployment schedules? What makes you think Hillary was even the second choice? The right wing has been taken over by fabulists.

In any case, I'm sure we'll find lots to criticize Palin for. She doesn't seem, for example, to have been a very good mayor from a budget standpoint. She appears to know less about foreign policy than the average WoC commenter.

The Bush Administration confused real life with 007 movies and 24's torture scenes. McCain seems to be trying for Legally Blonde—the Vice President where the apparently unqualified turn out to be capable. Well, maybe.

I will agree that the rumors about the daughter were indefensible. You will be relieved to know that when posted at Daily Kos, they were deleted by the community.

#2 from Andrew J. Lazarus:

McCain throws a Hail Mary pass just to stay in the game.

I agree. Barack Obama is the favorite, and John McCain the underdog needed to make a bold move just to make a fight of this election. He did make a bold move, and now it's an interesting fight. Well done John McCain.

It's rational that Barack Obama made a safe pick, Joe Biden, to protect his lead, and John McCain made an adventurous pick to challenge for the lead.

Of the 18 million Hillary voters, only 1 million have to peel off and vote for McCain/Palin to keep BHO out of the WH and Al-Qaeda out of your house.

Not exactly. Those 1 million might all live in TX and CA, in which case they probably won't swing the electoral vote count at all. On the other hand, Palin probably plays very well to Hillary voters in FL and OH...

Btw, the "inexperience" charge cuts both ways. It was just yesterday that all the speakers at the Democratic convention were not-so-subtly comparing Obama to Lincoln, who is so often raised as the counterpoint to McCain's pointing out Obama's lack of experience/qualifications. Doesn't Palin get a Lincoln comparison out of this?

not-so-subtly comparing Obama to Lincoln

Grrrrr. Lincoln was the leader of his political party in Illinois for several years, responsible for many of the improvements that still define Illinois, not the least of which is the location which Obama uses as a prop.

He engaged, and arguably won, a natioanly-publicized series of debates with the most prominent Democrat in the country at the time, Stephen Douglas, the heir apparant to the Presidency.

He served in the military, elected captain of his militia in the Blackhawk war.

He is the only U.S. President with a patent.

As a lawyer, he argued many cases to the Illinois Surpreme Court, establishing legal precedents that remain today. (Obama has argued zero cases to the Illinois Supreme Court)

He had a variety of occupational experiences: farmer, flatboatman, miller, store clerk, merchant, postmaster, surveyor, and lawyer. (That is, voters could say that he shares my experiences) At a time when about 80% of working men in the country were farmers, to be in a profession was more exclusive than today.

---

Unbeliever: Yeah, I understand your point, just used it to make my own point.

One thing everybodyy on the left and right need to do is shut up about whose child is being deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan. AQ isn't stupid and even the British Press couldn't keep thier mouth shut up about Prince Harry.

The blogs I read9left, right and center) have everybody going into such a tizzy over Palin you would think it is their first orgasm. The proof will be in the campaigning.

A moment I am not likely to see would be this:

Moderator: How would you handle [issue of the day]? Governor Palin, you are first.

Palin: I would blah blah blah blah. I look forward to hearing what my opponent's solution would be... in his own words of course.

(grin)

#27 from GK at 8:15 pm on Aug 29, 2008

I worked on SNL during the first two seasons. I agree that Jib Jab tops it.

I am also pleased that you took the comment in the spirit that it was meant.

#26 from Captain Ned at 7:51 pm on Aug 29, 2008

I am not in the least convinced by your money comments. It appears to me like whistling in the dark. Any sources?
Last I heard was that the score in July was about 55M to 25M. Obamas total was only 3M below his record.

Obama's ground game dwarfs McCain's. Last month,Even Karl Rove was impressed. I have yet to hear that McCain has made any signifigant move to combat this.

I just read that Palin was baptised Catholic and swithced to become a member of the Assembly of God. This will go over wonderfully with the Evangelicals, but how will it fly with Catholics in the industrial Midwest where McCain has to make some inroads.

I think this will be a signifigant issue, but no one seems to have picked up on it, yet.

I planned to vote for McCain but have never made a monetary political contribution in my 23 years of voting life -- until today. Go McCain.

Reportedly, the Reps collected more than $4 million dollars online on Friday, and the highest prior day's intake was something like 1/4 that.

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